When discussing the operations that take place internally with the Postal Service, the terms light duty, rehabilitation assignment, and USPS limited duty assignments have different meanings.
USPS Light Duty Standard Operating Procedure
Light duty assignments typically include voluntary requests for less stressful or physically intensive work. These assignments can be requested by any part-time or full-time flexible employee that suffers injury on the job. However, if the injury was not sustained on the job, the employee would need a minimum of 5 years of experience in the postal industry.
These voluntary requests must be made according to the applicable collective bargaining agreement.
Light duty provisions between the postal unions and Postal Service include collective bargaining agreements requiring full attention to employees’ needs based on their respective circumstances.
Examples of light duty in the postal service include:
- Assigning an employee who has a back injury to a job that does not involve heavy lifting
- Allowing an employee who has a broken arm to work in a non-driving position
- Modifying the duties of an employee who has a disability to accommodate their needs
- Assigning an employee with a medical condition that affects their stamina to work shorter shifts
- Allowing an employee with a disability to work from home
- Assign an employee to a mail processing or sorting position that does not require prolonged standing or repetitive motions
- Allow an employee to work a part-time schedule to accommodate physical therapy or medical appointments.
Unfortunately, employees assigned light duty tasks are given no guarantee of a set number of hours per week they can work.
The Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) was designed to ensure that claims by injured postal workers were settled fairly and in as short of a time as possible. There is a chance that if you have sustained an occupational injury or illness as a postal worker, you may not qualify for the Rehabilitation Act like you would FECA. These two different laws analyze separate items when determining disabilities for rural carrier limited duty.
It is critical to note that your physical or mental impairment on the premises will need to severely limit your life activities in order to receive concessions via the Rehabilitation Act.
Basic injuries from postal work usually do not qualify for limited duty. Limited duty usps refers to an employee who is permanently or temporarily unable to perform some of their regular job tasks due to a medical condition. They may be assigned to a different position or given a modified work schedule.
Pros of light duty in the postal service include:
- Allows injured or disabled employees to continue working and earning a paycheck
- Can help employees maintain their skills and knowledge, making it easier for them to return to their regular job duties
- Can help the postal service retain experienced and trained employees.
Cons of light duty in the postal service include:
- May require additional resources and accommodations to be made for employees on light duty.
- Can result in additional costs for the postal service
- May lead to resentment from other employees who may perceive the employee on light duty as receiving special treatment.